Good luck, first of all.
galen ubal and I met online in August, 2002. Starting ‘talking’, had our first phone call a few weeks later. Met in person - me flying from Australia to the US - in February 2003. He flew down here recently. We’ve met each other’s families and so on.
Words of warning: this is a tough way to run a relationship. At this distance, there’s a lot of time apart. Communications are limited by time differences. It gets harder after the first visit, because then you really start to miss them. It hurts that you only get a month, six weeks together a year - at least, that’s what we get, you might be different depending on what you can afford in the way of airfares and how much time you can get off work to travel.
It’s tough. Don’t get into it if you can’t do it. But, of course, you don’t really know that until you try…
On the other hand, though, I disagree with Kalhoun - or, more accurately, since it’s a matter of personality and personal preference and beliefs and so on, I operate differently to him. You can have a real relationship, even at this distance. You can be involved in the little things in life. Lots of phone calls, emails, and so on. Lots of thought. We talk in depth about things, about the silly things that wander across our mind, about the little things that go on. Good communications.
That’s different in text or on the phone than face to face, by the way. Be prepared for that.
As to the ‘hiding things’…most people do. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes bad. Even in face to face relationships, it takes time to discover all the nooks and crannies in the other person’s mind and heart - goddess knows galen ubal can still surprise me sometimes (in a good way). A lot of the time the ‘hiding’ is no more than letting discoveries happen in their natural time, same as would happen in ftf relationship.
Other times…yeah, it’s easier to be dishonest online. It’s easier to hide what you consider to be flaws. Some of that’s natural too, to think that if they find out such-and-such about you, they won’t like/love you any more. You’d have to deal with it in a ftf relationship, you’ll have to deal with it here.
Be honest. Talk as freely as you can. Be ready for rough times, and talk 'em out with all the honesty and compassion you can muster - sometimes you’ll be wrong, sometimes they’ll be wrong, and often it’ll be a little from column A, a little from column B. Support each other when distance seems too far - it will, sometimes.
Have a B plan when you’re finally in a position to meet - I had alternatives when I went to the US, just in case it didn’t work out. That’s not a lack of faith, that’s practicality.
Speaking of which, when you’ve met and you’ve got a handle on things, start thinking about who moves where, and where you go after first meeting - it makes the separation easier to stand if you know it’s going somewhere.
I hope it works for you. It may not - but then again, it just might.